Consumer spending is either one of the last shoes to drop before a recession or the saving grace of the US economy.
And according to the CEO of Newell-Rubbermaid it sure doesn’t look like the “last shoe” scenario is playing out yet.
“At the moment, I don’t see the slowdown in markets or in the macros, and I don’t see our customers really behaving in a particularly defensive way like they did in 2009 during the recession,” said CEO Michael Polk in a quarterly earnings call.
Newell-Rubbermaid is the maker of consumer products such as Sharpie’s and Rubbermaid plastic storage containers.
Additionally, Polk said that as his company has shifted towards being more consumer-focused, it has become more resilient.
“We are far less cyclical than we were when we started, and we’re more consumer-driven than we were then,” Polk told investors. “And we have way more brand support behind our brands such that they can absorb the macro cycles a lot better than they could in the past.”
The company also produces commercial products such as heavy duty trashcans and mop buckets, and much like the broader economy, this is the area where Polk is seeing softer sales.
“The only business in our portfolio that had been sensitive to this has been the industrial products and services business, where, as I said, we went from high single digit growth in 2014 to essentially slight growth in 2015,”Polk said. “And I previously commented that, that trend began in about October of 2014.”
This all comes after Newell Rubbermaid agreed last month to buy Jarden Corp, maker of Rawlings baseball gloves and Jostens class rings, for $15.4 billion.
Polk’s comments are similar to other CEOs who have mentioned that consumer-facing goods are selling fine, while manufacturing goods have dropped off a cliff into recession-like territory.
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